The outspoken columnist and author's new book shares how TV, films influence our opinions.
The late, much-missed Andrew Breitbart famously said, “Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks.”
This quote exemplifies the life and career of Denise McAllister. A Christian apologist, cultural commentator, columnist and author, her latest book is titled “What Men Want to Say to Women (But Can’t)” (out Feb. 11).
I recently sat down with McAllister to talk about her book and how it relates to the Culture War.
Dave Dubrow: Why can’t men say certain things to women? What’s keeping them from saying what they want to say?
Denise McAllister: Because of the politically correct culture we live in, many people are afraid or simply can’t say—due to professional concerns (as well as relational)—what they want to say about protected topics such as those about women.
If a man is honest about how women lie about rape, for example, he’s called a misogynist. If he says women need to stop whining about equal pay for equal work when they’re not really doing equal work, then he’s labeled a sexist. If he says that women need to understand that men are visual creatures and appreciating a woman’s sex appeal and feminine beauty—even pointing it out “among the guys”—isn’t sexist, he’ll still be called a misogynist.
If you say that fathers are needed in the home, then you’re treated as if you’re somehow denigrating moms. Because of the labels attached to these comments, men are silenced and controlled by the feminist agenda.
Dubrow: In the book you focus on not just communication between the sexes, but how men and women are portrayed in popular entertainment. At one point you mention “the preponderance of female action heroes.” What’s wrong with female action heroes?
McAllister: Nothing is inherently wrong with female action heroes in fiction. The problem is that we allow fiction to be “proofs” of reality. I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve talked about women being physically weaker than men and that this is why they shouldn’t be in combat, I get the response, “But just look at Brianne of Tarth” (from “Game of Thrones”) or even the fictionalized accounts of Joan of Arc, whose combat role has been highly exaggerated.
Fiction can be a great vehicle to change how we think, and this has happened when it comes to equalizing men and women through the preponderance of female superheroes and “strong” women in film. We have been brainwashed into actually believing women can be just like men in the physical arena.
This is simply not the case, and it’s dangerous to think otherwise.
Dubrow: Let’s talk about how fathers are portrayed in pop culture today. Is it much different than decades ago?
McAllister: The portrayal of fathers as idiotic useless dolts goes back into the late ’70s and ’80s as feminism was really gaining steam in pop culture. We see it in sitcoms, films and commercials. Again, we are using fiction to change reality in culture, brainwashing Americans to think mothers are simply better in the home and that fathers are unnecessary.
Dubrow: Depictions of women in pop culture: good for relationships between the sexes, bad, or indifferent? Do people really take their cues from what they see on screen?
McAllister: Film is a very powerful medium for change. Our cognitive abilities are easily swayed by the imagination, and the visual nature of film bypasses rational thought. When we are saturated with this imagery and bombarded with it daily, then we begin to loosen our grip on rationality and reality.
When these cultivated subjective notions are then picked up in education through a liberal agenda, the fiction is legitimized by faux science and mal-education.
Dubrow: At one point in the book, you say, “A lot of #MeToo incidents arise from women playing the sex card and not liking the outcome.” Can you explain that?
McAllister: Women often, though not always, use their sexuality as a power dynamic in the professional world. When it doesn’t work, some women then turn on men, claiming victim status.
This isn’t always the case, of course. There is real sexual harassment in the workplace, but women need to own the part they play [in separate incidences]. This isn’t blaming the victim, it’s preventing victims and also holding women to account when they do lie about men and manipulate them even though the women played a very significant role in the situation.
Dubrow: A recent “Saturday Night Live” skit reduced this year’s Academy Award nominations to a single theme: White Male Rage. Is this fair? What do men have to be angry about?
McAllister: I think men have a lot to be angry about. They’re wrongly portrayed in film. They’re treated as if they’re privileged when they’re not. Their achievements are coveted by those who haven’t merited them. They are cast as villains as women play the victim.
They are treated as if their natural masculinity is toxic and they’re told to act more like women. They’re treated unfairly in family court. They lose due process in sexual assault and harassment cases. They are often put in the impossible position to prove the negative.
They are generally treated with disrespect unless they kowtow to feminism. Their rights are threatened as women seek equality of outcomes instead of being satisfied with equality before the law. So, yeah, they have a lot to be angry about.
They have been labeled and delegitimized as society says they’ve held their place in the sun for too long and now they have to prove how woke and nice they are by allowing marginalized groups to take their place whether those groups and individuals deserve it or not.
Dubrow: Because of Hollywood’s hostility to traditional gender roles, masculinity and other social issues, many conservatives are eschewing Tinseltown as a source of entertainment. Is this a reasonable reaction? Is there any hope for normal relations between men and women?
McAllister: Yes, Hollywood should be shunned, and our culture needs to repent of its celebrity worship. With people willing to stand up for truth, there is hope for relations between men and women. History has a way of cycling back to normalcy.
The sad thing is, societies often have to go through terrible trials and tribulations to wake up to reality. Historically, that has often been brutal. We can pray for revival and do what I’m trying to do to wake people up to the trajectory we’re on, but sometimes prophets aren’t heard. They’re left yelling from mountaintops, watching the devastation of rebellion below. But despite this, we can’t remain silent. We must speak even if no one hears.
Dubrow: Who are our allies in the struggle against woke feminism’s disastrous attempts at social engineering? Who else is willing to stand up for masculinity, healthy relationships, and the traditional family?
McAllister: The allies of political conservatives are traditional religious types who know the truth, though we have to be careful with those who wrongly believe that women and men are fundamentally unequal and who define sexuality according to roles rather than according to purpose.
The key is to fight for reality and truth with the goal to rebuild and heal relationships in a way that honors God, not to cause further division. Sometimes that might leave you alone in the fight.
You can find Denise McAllister’s book, “What Men Want to Say to Women (But Can’t),” at Amazon and other book sellers. It’s a thoughtful, enjoyable read for anyone interested in navigating today’s troubled cultural waters.
David Dubrow is a writer and a man who wants to say things to women. Find out all about him and his incredibly exciting, well-written books at his web site.